Kiradech lurks behind Jimenez #ThailandClassic

Fri 13 Feb 2015

Kiradech lurks behind Jimenez #ThailandClassic

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Hua Hin, Thailand, February 13:  Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat fired his way back into contention with five-under-par 67 to pile the pressure on Spaniard leader Miguel Angel Jimenez after the second round of the inaugural US$2 million True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain on Friday.
The charismatic Spanish veteran, who is the oldest player in the field, was once again in his element as he raced atop the leaderboard with a 66 while Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand made his move by carding a similar 66 to share third place with Australia’s Scott Hend and one-time Asian Tour winner, Richard T. Lee of Canada at the Black Mountain Golf Club.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand
Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat meanwhile created the early headlines when he became the proud new owner of a luxury townhouse worth 12 million Thai baht, courtesy of his hole-in-one at the par-three 14th.
After missing the cut at the season-opening event in Malaysia last week, Kiradech returned with all guns blazing at the richest golf tournament in Thailand.
The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, who started on the back-nine 10, had an opening birdie to get his round going.
He went on to mix two bogeys against two birdies for an outward 35.
But it was an eagle-three on the second hole that surged him further up the leaderboard.
Although he dropped another shot on five, the Thai would respond quickly with another three birdies in his closing four holes to sign for a two-day total of 10-under-par 134.
“I’ve been striking the ball well. I did not make too many mistakes and that’s a huge boost to my confidence,” said Kiradech.
The Thai, who played alongside Jimenez in his opening two rounds, holds the Spaniard in high regard and is wary of the 51-year-old as the weekend rounds approach.
“It’s not easy to beat an old guy like him. He hits the ball very far and is striking it very well. He’s a world-class player in my eyes,” said Kiradech.
Jimenez defied father time and the effects of flu to take his place at the top.
Despite having his card marred by a lone bogey at the last, Jimenez is confident of taking on the best players from the Asian Tour and European Tour.
“I’m very happy. I’m disappointed to make bogey on the last but overall I played very solid and made a lot of birdies.
“You’re always happy when you’re under-par and the more under-par you are, the happier you are,” said Jimenez.
Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia
Crowd favourite Thongchai did not disappoint the galleries as he improved on his opening 69 with 66 that was highlighted by seven birdies and one bogey.
“I’m very happy with my score today. I’ll try my best to show the local fans the quality of the Thai players especially at an event on home soil,” said the three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.
While he is just two shots behind Jimenez, Thongchai knows he has to work on his short game to put himself into contention for his 14th win on the region’s premier Tour.
“I missed about four to five short putts today. I didn’t putt that well and I need to improve on my putting.
“It’s not that far behind but anything can happen in the next two days. Miguel putted very well today. I did say at the beginning whoever putts well this week can win. We will see,” said Thongchai.
Although he had to make the early exit after rounds of 75 and 71, Panuphol’s ‘consolation’ was a four-story, three bedroom townhouse at the Black Mountain Golf Club, which was awarded to the first player to ace the 14th hole.
Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand collects the 14th hole in one prize Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand collects the 14th hole in one prize
“I hit the ball to the right and it was a good shot. I saw the ball just gone and I wasn’t sure if it had gone in. But one of the guys ran up and he said there’s no golf ball on the greens.
“So I started yelling. It was out of my mind. Six-iron is my friend now,” said a jubilant Panuphol.
The cut was set at two-under with a total of 79 players making it into the weekend rounds.
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com , www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf , www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf , www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf .
About MUSE Group
Muse Group is a boutique marketing agency, specializing in music, and sports and entertainment. Operating in five offices across the Asian region, Muse was the promoter of the FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC Summer Tours in 2014. It is the exclusive marketing agency for the newly-launched Chang International Circuit in Buriram.
About Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin
A challenging yet highly enjoyable design, the course enjoys sweeping vistas from almost every hole, and tour-standard conditions. Since opening in 2007, Black Mountain has hosted three Asian Tour events, including the 2014 King’s Cup, and has won a string of international awards. Black Mountain is the only course in Thailand ever to be named in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses (outside the US), and also to receive the accolade “Best Course in Thailand” for the past FOUR years in a row. Also in December 2014, Asian Golf Monthly Magazine voted Black Mountain as the "Best Course in Asia Pacific" and "Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific". Additionally, the magnificent Par 3 sister course may be the best you will ever play. Set in a natural valley, there is water on every hole, requiring precise shot-making and concentration, just as you need on the full length course! Outstanding services, the most modern carts and electric buggies available, first class practice facilities and a modern clubhouse overlooking the course make Black Mountain a golf experience you will long remember. Combine all of the above with a world class restaurant and a 5-star Spa, then you have the complete package for the perfect golfing destination.